Thursday, January 18, 2007

Movie Madness

Ice aside, this is one of my favorite times of year - the time when the most acclaimed films of the previous year trickle their way down to the provinces in the run up to Oscar. We've been lucky to have had many of the year's best screened here already, but tomorrow is a big day for film lovers in T-town. But before I get to that, I must recommend everyone see Helen Mirren in The Queen [website/trailer]. Mirren took home the Golden Globe for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the days following the death of Princess Diana (She also took the Golden Globe for her performance of the title role in HBO's glorious Elizabeth I). She should take the home an Oscar as well.

Opening tomorrow:

Volver [website/trailer] - This is probably my most anticipated film of the year. I absolutely love Pedro Almodovar's films and Volver promises to be one of his best ever. By all reports, a breakthrough performance from Penelope Cruz and the female cast - who were collectively awarded the Best Actress award at Cannes. I can't wait.

Pan's Labyrinth [website/trailer] - Critics are raving about this one and it looks stunning. Pan's Labyrinth is directed by Guillermo del Toro, director of such gems as Hellboy and Blade II, but don't let that stop you from seeing it - this film looks like Lord of the Rings on acid in Franco era Spain.

Letters from Iwo Jima [website/trailer] - Clint Eastwood will probably win the Oscar for best director for this companion piece to his earlier film Flags of our Fathers. Flags tell the story of the American soldiers depicted in the famous image of the raising of the American flag during the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima. Letters tell the story of the battle from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers. The film is almost entirely in Japanese and much of it is "almost black and white" - it was shot in color and desaturated to give it a vintage look.

The Last King of Scotland [website/trailer] - This is the story of the murderous regime of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin as told by the young Scotish doctor who becomes his personal physician. Forest Whitaker becomes Idi Amin in this film - probably the performance of his career.


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